So I had my A Race yesterday, thought I would share some details as a bit of a debrief for me, and hopefully provide some info/takeaways that may help others, either from what I did well or poorly!
I’ve used bullet points to make it a bit more easily digestible.
First a bit of background on me and my TrainerRoad history.
• I’m 37 with 3 kids and have been using TrainerRoad for 6 years.
• I only have time for low volume plans, with plus versions of workouts when possible. I also commute around 5 hours a week on the bike. Weekly TSS is around 400-500.
•My focus is MTB marathons but I also ride road and gravel. My TrainerRoad strength is sweet spot and threshold workouts, my weakness is V02 Max.
• Current FTP is 310 at around 76kgs.
• 160km/100 mile MTB marathon in Bendigo, Australia, notoriously dry, dusty, rocky and rough course, even more so this year as we have had such little rain. The trails are old school, ungroomed, no manicured berms or man made features.
• 3 laps of a 53km course, passing through a feed station 3 times per lap plus the start/finish line. Your own bottles are pre dropped at the feedstation by the organisers.
• The 100 mile category only had 8 entrants, the same as last year. The other categories (30/50/100km) attract nearly 400 riders.
• Lap 1 can be summed up in 4 words. WENT OUT TOO HARD! I was feeling good, was riding with the 2 favourites (who are top 2 at most marathon events) and just got carried away. I was aware at the time I was riding at an unsustainable pace but made the choice to roll the dice and see what happened. I came through into lap 2 in second place.
• Lap 2 went well until 3 and 4th place caught me and then I had both quads lock up from cramp. Managed somehow to get back on the bike and keep moving. I used Alison Tetricks breathing method that she mentioned in the last athlete interview Podcast. It seemed to work (either mentally or physically!) so I pushed on carefully.
• Lap 3 was all about survival and keeping my head in the game. By the time I crossed the line I could barely pedal and my hands and forearms were completely numb. I ended up 5th overall in a time of 8 hours 34 mins. Average speed of 17.9km with 2813 metres of climbing.
• Stick to the pacing plan! I paid the price for going too hard early on
• As I’m well aware I need to work on upper body and core strength and conditioning. I’m guilty of neglecting this and it showed. I’m definitely going to build this into my plan leading into next year.
• FTP is not everything. As I’m time poor (as most of us are) I find I have to decide between an outside mountain bike ride or a scheduled TrainerRoad ride on most weeks. In the lead up to this years race I chose TR workouts almost exclusively, whilst my FTP is the highest it’s ever been, my body lacked real work MTB conditioning.
Equipment and nutrition.
• I rode a Trek Fuel EX 9.9 custom build. I favour a slacker, longer travel bike as I’m an ex downhiller and still like to open it up on the downhill sections. My bike weighs 11kgs (24.25lbs) with pedals. The bike is built with Fox Factory suspension (130mm front and rear), Light Bicycle carbon rims built onto Hope Pro 4 rear and DT 240 front, new XTR race brakes and 12 speed XTR drivetrain (with Eagle cassette).
•I’ve been running the Pirelli Scorpion MTB tyres and have been very impressed. They set up tubeless very easily and have great air retention. The grip in our dry, dusty and rocky conditions is fantastic, they have a predictable breakaway and roll really well. I’ve had zero flats so far, no other flats reported by any of my customers either, which says a lot as our trails are notorious for damaging tyres.
• I ran a SRAM Eagle chain with Molten Speed Wax. This lasted longer than my go to Smoove lube, it only started to get a bit noisy at the 100km mark, which is what I expected. I applied some Smoove at this point and it ran perfectly until the finish. There were some very noisy drivetrains out there on bikes that were covering the shorter distances, I’m impressed with how the wax held up in the very dusty conditions.
I think that about covers it, apologies for the long post!